There’s little worse you can tell an anxious person than “calm down,” or a depressed person to “cheer up” or “get over it.” These directive directions are simplistic – oversimple if you will. As though that basic thought hadn’t occurred to the one experiencing the emotion. Directions don’t help!
When we do experience situational anxiety or situational depression though, a good question to ask ourselves is, “Does how I feel right now actually help me or my ego?” Are we looking to stay with a feeling because it validates our behavior? Are we looking to stay with a feeling because it’s become a cozy blanket to us? Perhaps a shield?
If we are looking to help ourselves navigate a situation that stirs up some anxiousness, frustration, anger, sadness, rage, or fear, the situation my be outside of our control, so instead of asking ourselves to relax, calm down, get over it, or cheer up, maybe the question we should ask ourselves in these moments is, “Does this help?” Is our emotional reaction going to change an event that already happened?
The best direction is through. If we attempt to go up or down as a means of getting through, we are only adding obstacles to a past event we cannot change. Knowing better doesn’t mean much if we don’t do better as a result.